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Nau Seeks Athletes, Artists and Activists for a Grant for Change

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Thursday July 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Need a little dose of inspiration? Check out the nominees for Grant for Change, a $10,000 year-long grant campaign that triple-bottom-line clothier Nau has just launched. The company says it plans to award a grant each year, with a new focus each time. But the overall goal is to support people who are creating what Nau calls “lasting, positive change in their communities.”
The focus for recipients of this year’s grant is on athletes, artists and activists. The nomination process is open to individuals or groups whose work can be categorized thusly, and so far there are some great nominees.
Take, for example, Wendy Tremayne and her Swap-O-Rama-Rama events. What started as clothing swaps at her friends’ homes has evolved into public events, where people bring a bag of clothes they no longer want, along with a $10 donation, and then they find items the desire in the hundreds of pounds of others’ cast-aways. After that, they can visit one of many sewing stations throughout the swapping grounds and, with the help of trained seamstresses, modify the clothing to their liking. Clothing gets recycled and swappers walk out with funky, customized, one-of-a-kind get-ups.


Another nominated group that deals in clothes is ROSA LOVES, an organization that helps support individuals and families who are in great financial need, by designing and selling t-shirts that illustrate their stories. The designs are great, and the story of the recipient is printed inside the t-shirt, symbolically close to the wearer’s heart. Each shirt design is sold until a pre-set financial goal, designed to help the party in need, is met.
Benj Drummond and Sara Steele are seeking the grant to help fund their documentary project called Facing Climate Change. It will examine climate change through the lenses of various communities as they “confront and adapt to the complex issues surrounding global warming,” say the filmmakers. They’re taking their cameras everywhere from semi-nomadic reindeer herder villages in the Arctic to wildfire fighters of the American West.
Founded in 2005, Nau was started by a group of outdoor clothing industry vets with a vision for a company steeped in sustainability and philanthropy. But a year after it launched its first line in 2007, Nau failed. Seems its demise was due to a mixture of a foul economy and, perhaps, too much focus on the triple bottom line and not enough on generating financial returns.
But then Nau was born again. Santa Barbara-based Horny Toad, another clothier with a similar vibe, bought Nau just six weeks after it shut down. Infused with new life, the new Nau appears to be thriving – enough to create a bold grant program. Sure, it’s an obviously smart means of marketing its brand and creating good will among Nau fans – which, in Nau parlance, are the Nau Collective (disclosure: I own two Nau shirts, so I guess I’m part of the Collective). Plus, how hard can it be, one might ask, to set aside $10,000 for a grant when you sell t-shirts for $95? (Disclosure: I only buy when they’re on sale.) But the Grant for Change campaign is also a great way for Nau to show that its sites are still focused on its “business unusual” business plan.
The company is encouraging everyone to make nominations – you can self-nominate or nominate others – through the campaign website. Nominations are open until August 17… and just in the amount of time it has taken for me to write this post, a few more have popped up on the site. Good luck, nominees!

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